Sunday, February 1, 2009

Watch Your Mouth

“Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips.” Proverbs 4:24

Devotional:

Bleep. Bleep. Bleep.

My former governor, Rod Blagojevich, is in some hot water for some words that he has said. Besides the fact that some of his conversations caught on tape by the FBI may prove to be criminal, without a doubt, they were embarrassing.

“You and your wife are such potty mouths,” said Joy Behar, when Blagojevich appeared on “The View.” The ex-governor’s expletive filled conversations become fodder for late night comedians.

On a recent whirlwind media tour, Blagojevich explained that “Had I known somebody was listening, I wouldn’t have used language like that.”

We all would be embarrassed if some of our private conversations were caught on tape and played for the entire world. But even if we aren’t being taped by the FBI, shouldn’t we watch what we’re saying?

God is always listening. And even more important than what comes out of our mouth, God knows our heart.

What we say and how we say it is a barometer of our heart condition. In Proverbs 4:23, we are warned, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of your life.” Then in the very next verse we are told, “Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips.” What is in our heart inevitably will come out of our mouth.

What are considered “bad” words can differ from society to society. Bloody is a bad word in England. Nobody will bat an eye if you say bloody in the United States. Besides whether we use words that are considered “bad” by our society, we should examine the content and sentiment behind the words we use. Are our words meant to build or destroy? Are your words full of anger and bitterness? Are your words full of gossip and lies? Are they negative or positive? Are they bringing hurt or healing?

You can never say a “bad” word and still be cursing your fellow man. Are you assassinating others with your tongue? Many who have professed to follow Christ have destroyed their fellow brother or sister in Christ with their words and they never said a four-letter one or the ones used by former Gov. Blagojevich. Ugly, dumb, fat and stupid are all words that can hurt and destroy.

The book of James tells us about the power of the tongue. He calls it “a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body." Just as fire can destroy, it can also be productive, warming us and keeping us alive. James goes on to say, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”

Is your tongue a burning wildfire, destroying everything in its path or is it a place where people can feel the warmth of God’s love?

My father used to say that God fastened the tongue to the bottom of our mouth, barred it with teeth and sealed it behind our lips for a reason. We need to watch our mouths.

The psalmist put it this way, “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)

Reflection:

What sort of atmosphere are your words setting?

Do the words that you use reflect anger, resentment or hurt?

Application:

· Give someone a compliment, and mean it.

· Write an encouraging note to a friend or loved one. Tell them what you admire about them or the difference they have made in your life. Forwarding a mass email does not count.

· Look back on your day and examine the words you have used and why you used them.

Scriptures:

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. Proverbs 16:23

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. James 1:26

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

Prayer:

Dear God,
Let the words that come out of my mouth bring honor, not shame, to your name.
Amen

1 comment:

Lisa Maria Carroll said...

Your governor is in some hot water for more than some words he said. Does he REALLY believe he did nothing wrong?

I'm speechless.

My father used to say that God fastened the tongue to the bottom of our mouth, barred it with teeth and sealed it behind our lips for a reason... Writing a book of wisdom should be Pastor's retirement mission. Better yet, those of us who grew up under his tutelage should consider writing a book of Copeland ism's for those who weren't fortunate enough to be raised/trained under him.

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